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Catching up with Sue Norman

It’s officially Franschhoek Open Gardens! Running from 25, 26 & 27 October 2013, come and enjoy ten Franschhoek gardens; ‘from small to medium-sized gardens in the village to farm gardens, indigenous gardens and ‘out of town’ gardens’. Plus in the centre of town there will be a tea and bubbly garden, live music, a fresh goods market as well as a plant sale.

Be sure to take a meander through our lush and rambling gardens, and why not begin your ‘Open Gardens’ adventure with breakfast in our Garden Room?

the garden room

We caught up with our garden curator, Sue Norman, who has been digging her hands in our soil for almost two decades.

sue norman

What flowers are popping up in our gardens at the moment?
There are many spring flowers still in bloom! Tumbling wisteria, brunsfelsia (‘yesterday-today-and-tomorrow’), flowering ornamental fruit trees, like Crab-apple and cherry, citrus trees, red poppies.

We’re also seeing early summer flowers, such as roses, including Full Sail and Sophie’s Rose in our herb garden, Icebergs, Blossom Magic, Rhapsody in Blue, yellow Banksia Granny’s Delight and others.

Other plants in flower include Salvia greggii, Salvia mini-shastas (white daisies), Plectranthus zuluensis (shrub, little blue flowers) & Raphiolepis (shrub, white flowers) Murraya exotica, scattered, foxgloves, Heliotrope and a few early Agapanthus.

What kinds of birds are our gardens attracting a the moment?
Flitting amidst the flourishing foliage we’re spotting: White eyes, Cape Robins, Olive thrushes, fiscal shrikes, doves.

What makes each area of our gardens special?
In the reception area there are bright and pink accents; Huguenot street side simple plantings en masse of Carissa (‘num-num’), Agapanthus and Iceberg roses and a few Spring ’75; in the pool area there are simple mass plantings in blues and whites, lovely and cool; the garden rooms each have their own distinct garden styles and colour schemes, but the overall theme is subdued, peaceful and inviting.

How would you describe the style of the gardens?
Informal, lush, mass plantings (not ‘busy’) with a lot of repetition of successful and attractive plants and big shady trees balanced with sunny areas.

Describe yourself in three words?
Hard-working, dedicated and happy

What’s the best way to enjoy the garden?
With a book and a glass of wine, under the trees, listening to the birds and savouring the perfume of the flowers on the breeze.

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Franschhoek, Le Quartier Français, The Garden Room,
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